A Comprehensive Guide on How to Read Subaru ABS Codes and Troubleshoot Related Issues

If you own a Subaru car and are experiencing issues with your ABS system, you may need to read the ABS codes to diagnose the problem and fix it. The ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is a safety feature in modern cars that prevents the wheels from locking up during harsh braking conditions, thereby reducing the risk of accidents. In this guide, we will explain how to read Subaru ABS codes and troubleshoot related issues in an easy-to-understand format.

What is ABS and how does it work?

The ABS system in a Subaru car is made up of several components, including the ABS controller, ABS sensors, and ABS pump. When you press the brakes, the ABS controller monitors the speed of all four wheels. If it detects that one or more wheels are about to lock up, it sends a signal to the ABS pump to release the brake pressure, allowing the wheel to rotate and preventing skidding. This process happens rapidly and repeatedly, so you can maintain control over your car even during emergency braking.

Common ABS problems

Like any other car component, the ABS system is not immune to problems. Some common issues that you may encounter with your Subaru’s ABS system include:

  • ABS warning light on the dashboard stays on
  • ABS warning light flashes or blinks
  • Brakes feel soft or spongy
  • Brakes lock up or pulse unexpectedly
  • Unusual noises or vibrations from the brakes
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These problems can be caused by various factors, such as a faulty ABS sensor, damaged ABS pump, low brake fluid level, or corroded brake lines. It’s important to diagnose the issue as soon as possible to avoid safety hazards and costly repairs.

How to read Subaru ABS codes

To read the ABS codes on your Subaru car, you will need an OBD2 scanner that supports ABS codes. You can buy one online or borrow from a friend or auto parts store. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Locate the OBD2 port in your Subaru car, which is usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side. Plug in the OBD2 scanner and turn on the ignition, but do not start the engine.
  2. Follow the instructions on the scanner’s screen to select the "ABS" option and initiate a scan. The scanner will communicate with the ABS controller and retrieve the fault codes that are stored in its memory.
  3. Write down the codes or take a screenshot of the scanner’s display. Each code is a combination of letters and numbers, such as "C0057" or "U0122". These codes correspond to a specific problem with the ABS system, such as a faulty ABS sensor or pump.
  4. Consult the Subaru owner’s manual or a repair manual to decode the ABS codes. The manual will have a list of codes and their descriptions, which will help you understand what the problem is and how to fix it.

How to troubleshoot ABS code issues

Once you have identified the ABS code and its corresponding problem, you can take steps to fix it. Here are some common solutions for ABS code issues:

  • Replace a faulty ABS sensor or ABS pump: This requires some mechanical knowledge and tools, but it is doable for the intermediate DIYer. You can buy the replacement parts from an auto parts store or online and follow the instructions in the repair manual to install them.
  • Check and refill brake fluid: Low brake fluid can cause the ABS warning light to come on and affect the braking performance. Check the brake fluid reservoir under the hood and add more fluid if necessary. Use the recommended type of brake fluid for your Subaru model.
  • Check and clean corroded brake lines: Over time, brake lines can get rusted or corroded, leading to pressure loss and poor brake performance. Inspect the brake lines for signs of corrosion and clean them with a wire brush or sandpaper if needed.
  • Take your car to a mechanic: If you are not comfortable fixing the ABS issue yourself or if the problem is more complicated than you thought, you may need to take your car to a trusted mechanic who specializes in Subaru cars. They will have the tools and expertise to diagnose and fix the problem.
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Q: Can I drive my Subaru with the ABS warning light on?
A: It is not recommended to drive your car with the ABS warning light on, as it indicates a problem with the ABS system that may affect your braking ability and safety. Take your car to a mechanic or diagnose the problem yourself using an OBD2 scanner.

Q: Can I reset the ABS warning light by disconnecting the battery?
A: Disconnecting the battery or using a code reader to clear the codes may temporarily turn off the ABS warning light, but it will not fix the underlying problem. The light will come back on once the ABS system detects the same issue.

Q: How often should I check my Subaru’s ABS system?
A: It’s a good practice to check your car’s ABS system regularly, such as during routine maintenance or before a long trip. Look for signs of wear or damage, such as cracked sensors or leaking brake fluid. If you notice any warning signs, take action immediately to prevent further damage.


Reading Subaru ABS codes and troubleshooting related issues may seem daunting at first, but it is a necessary skill for car owners who want to ensure their safety and avoid expensive repairs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can diagnose the problem with your ABS system, fix it yourself or seek professional help, and drive your Subaru with confidence. Remember to always practice safe driving habits and comply with traffic regulations, even with a well-functioning ABS system!

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Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

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